- 03 Jan 18
Wixen Music Publishing, which licences music from the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, The Doors and Stevie Nicks, claims the streaming giant failed to obtain a licence to reproduce and distribute the songs.
The music publisher is allegedly suing Spotify for $1.6bn (£1.17bn).
In a legal case filed in California last week, Wixen claimed that Spotify made “insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information”, and consequently failed to licence the compositions or comply with the Copyright Act.
Wixen is responsible for handling royalty compliance, publishing administration and copyright management for hundreds of high-profile and lesser known artists. According to the legal complaint, it is seeking damages for more than 10,000 songs at a rate of $150,000 per song.
“Spotify has built a billion dollar business on the backs of songwriters and publishers whose music Spotify is using, in many cases without obtaining and paying for the necessary licenses,” the complaint said.
“Consequently, while Spotify has become a multi-billion dollar company, songwriters and their publishers, such as Wixen, have not been able to fairly and rightfully share in Spotify’s success, as Spotify has in many cases used their music without a license and without compensation.”
The US Copyright Act states every recorded song has two individual copyrights: one for the sound recording and another for its composition. Wixen argue that while Spotify struck deals with record labels to obtain the rights to sound recordings, it neglected to acquire the same for the compositions.
Spotify have not yet commented on the matter.